South Africa: Hammanskraal Water Quality 'Unsafe' Over High Bacteria Levels - Report

Three sites tested for water quality in Hammanskraal which saw an outbreak of cholera.
2 June 2023

Cape Town — In a report, independent laboratory testing commissioned by WaterCAN, an initiative by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, has found that water from three out of four taps examined in Hammanskraal produced water deemed unsafe to drink due to high levels of bacteria.

Aquatico Laboratories, which conducted the tests to determine if the water was fit for domestic and potable uses, did not detect cholera. However, water from the Hammanskraal Community Centre and a tanker filling point was found to be unsafe for drinking after bacteria levels were determined to be above drinking water quality standards. Additionally, WaterCAN said: "The water from Hammanskraal ward 74 is considered conditionally acceptable but bacterial values should be reduced over the long term. The water from the tanker can be considered for human consumption in the short term but free chlorine values should be reduced if consumption takes place over a longer period."

WaterCAN's efforts to determine Hammanskraal's water quality comes after a cholera outbreak in the area which, to date, has resulted in 24 deaths - 23 in Hamaanskraal and 1 from Parys in Ngwathe Municipality in Free State. A further total of 173 cholera cases have been reported. Gauteng Health spokesperson Foster Mohale called on residents to report to their nearest health facilities if they experience any symptoms which include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) offered assurance that measures would be taken to resolve the sanitation challenges of Hammanskraal. The DWS found that the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Rooiwal waste water treatment plant were necessary measures with estimated costs totalling U.S.$205 million.

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